Washington Update - May 27, 2024

Billy Moore    Dc2

Congress is out of town this week for the Memorial Day recess. Since the beginning of the year, lawmakers have enacted an annual appropriations package, war funding for Israel and Ukraine, new espionage authorities and a 5-year aviation bill. Of the 30 public laws enacted in 2024, 15 named federal facilities (mostly post offices) or extended expiring authorities.

When they return on June 3, Congress is scheduled to be in session 37 legislative days before adjourning for the November 5 election. No major legislation is expected to be enacted. The House will mostly work on annual appropriations bills and messaging legislation intended to hurt Democrats in their reelection campaigns. The Senate will continue to confirm federal judges (the 200th was confirmed last week) and vote on messaging legislation intended to help Democrats in their reelection campaigns. 

The other major legislative items include the annual Defense bill and a 5-year Farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee reported a partisan Farm bill proposal last week on a 33-21 vote. The House Armed Services Committee reported its 2025 Defense bill on a near-unanimous vote of 57-1.

Senate leaders hope to pass some bipartisan proposals this summer, but the items on their agenda have been touted by Democrats for months with no progress, including railway safety, cannabis banking, kids’ online safety, the Affordable Connectivity Program, and Artificial Intelligence regulation.

None of the proposals are expected to reach President Joe Biden’s desk before Election Day. Should President Biden be reelected, many will see final action in a Lame Duck Congress. Should Donald Trump prevail and take control of the Senate, most of the items will be postponed into 2025.

The Federal Reserve will meet twice this summer in June and July with no changes in monetary policy anticipated before their September or November meetings.